Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon – Race Recap

Bib, Bracelet, and Bits

I can not even tell you how amazed I am. I had no idea I had this in me just waiting to come out. Take it as a lesson. There is nothing any of you CAN’T do if you put your heart and soul into it…and believe in yourself!

The night before the marathon, I seriously rethought my clothing choices. The forecast was still looking grimly cold, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized I’d be miserable if I were too cold. I had my husband giving me hourly forecast updates. He was stressing me out. So, I tried on a few pairs of capri’s to wear under my shorts before I went to bed…and picked out a long sleeved shirt to wear under my Superman tee. In the end, I’m glad I did. It ended up being just perfect.

And I’m glad I wore the sweatband with the ear covers, AND the gloves with the hand warmers. I never tossed them. I wore them the entire run. (I do owe an apology to my new friends at Louva. I didn’t get to try out their arm warmers on the run. But I’ll be sure to take care of that in another blog post!)

I was ready. My Keurig was not.

I was ready. My Keurig was not.

I’m also glad I went to bed early that night. I got some good sleep, relatively speaking, and that always helps. I woke up rather spry at 4:50 am and managed to get out the door at 6am, which was the plan. My breakfast? A cup of bullet proof coffee…and a half a Quest bar. Too many butterflies to finish it. So I brought it with. We decided NOT to have my husband drive me to the start line, rather, he took me to the Light Rail station instead at the Mall of America. I was able to use the heated restrooms there, which was nice to get all that out of the way. There, I hopped a train at 6:46 am which got me to the start line at 7:17 am.

Amazing sunrise from the train

Amazing sunrise from the train

And right THERE, at the drop-off, were the porta-potties! Good thing, because clearly, I did NOT get all that out of the way. That cuppa Bulletproof coffee was already through my system. I hung in there a bit to organize my stuff and I realized that I forgot to hand off my eyeglasses to my husband. I brought my sunglasses to run in, and I had no idea what I was going to with my eyeglasses. Luckily I brought along my check bag, and a fleece blanket that I had planned to toss. Instead, I wrapped my glasses in the fleece and handed the bag to the check peeps from UPS who toted them to the finish line for me! Gnarly!

Start Line #Selfie

Start Line #Selfie

Then, I headed to my corral. I have to admit, it was super well organized. This is a top notch marathon. I only had ONE complaint…and I’ll get to that in a moment.

It was chilly. And I was happy to have the capri’s on. There was little to no sun as promised, and there was a stiff breeze. This kept the temperatures up a bit, but still made for a cold morning. I warmed up a little bit, took my Energybits and got my watch and phone ready to go. Five minutes prior to the gun, I tossed the throw away pants and my disposable water bottle. But I opted to run with the sweatshirt for a little while.

It went fast…next thing I knew, the gun had sounded and we were off. I had lined up behind the 3:25:00 pacer just for fun, but quickly lost sight of him over the first hill. I had read that I should take it easy up these early hills so I put that plan into action. Starting nice and slow may have made all the difference for me this run. In fact, soon after the 3:35:00 pacer passed me by as well. I tried not to let it deter me.

Twin Cities Marathon Course Map

Twin Cities Marathon Course Map

Coming through downtown Minneapolis was a blast! I passed by all of our weekend joints, and the bells were tolling melodically at the Basilica of St. Mary. It was glorious and it reminded me that it was Sunday morning and I wasn’t at mass. So I said a prayer for all those less fortunate than I.

And we continued on. The next thing I knew, there was a lake directly ahead, and I recognized it as  the route I ran with Michael Scott from Run Nerds Rock back in March. It brought back brilliant memories of running with friends from afar, and hopefully having the opportunity to run with them again.  The winds picked up a little here, and the sun tried hard to make an appearance, but it just didn’t have the strength.

Michael and I

Michael and I

I should mention that I opted to run sans music or podcasts and just enjoy the crowds like I did in Boston. And I’m glad I did. Because it was a great crowd! There were folks lined up on about 90% of the route, and I was happy to thank them often for being there.

Then another lake, and yet another..and the sweatshirt I had on was ready to come off. I was at mile 6 now, and thinking just 3 more of these to go, plus a little bit. I was getting excited because I felt so good. I stuck with the sweatshirt up to hour 1, or the 7th mile or so when I tied it around my waist until mile 10. By then, I decided it wasn’t going back on, so I tossed it. I fueled here with my bits.

And here is my ONLY complaint about this run. It was shoulder to shoulder…for a LONG time. I remember it opening up at Grandma’s after mile 6, and at Boston around the same time. But this one? At least mile 13 when I got some space to spread out. I think the issue was there were two Clif 3:35:00 pacers. One was from Corral 1, and the other from Corral 2. Around mile 8 or so, they caught up with each other…and there was a crowd. Well, two crowds that kind of merged into one. It was hard to pass by them. And I felt like they were slowing me down. That was probably a good thing in retrospect. But I didn’t care for the overall closeness with my fellow marathoners. It just kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. And I knew that if I felt like I did at Mile 13, I’d be ready to pick up the pace again.

I believe it was around mile 14 where the lot of them stopped for water…and I took the opportunity to skirt past them. And I’m glad I did. At that time, the route leveled out nicely and I was able to make up some time.

The course continued to get a bit easier and it loosened up tremendously. With my sweatshirt gone, I was being recognized as “SuperGirl”, “SuperWoman”, “SuperLady”, “Pink SuperMan Girl”, etc. It was SUPER FUN. I just ate it up and spit it back out! The fans were great! I waved and yelled and hollered like I did at Boston…I was the only one so I got some attention. There were a few runners around me shaking their heads in disgust. I’m not sure why. My next dose of Energybits were waiting in my pocket. Down the hatch at around mile 16.

At Mile 17, we passed the Clif Gel tables. I’m so glad I don’t need that stuff anymore to fuel. I passed them by and just kept running. At Mile 19 we crossed the Mississippi and I remembered to look left and right at the amazing fall foliage. If I weren’t running as well as I was, I would’ve stopped to snap some photos. I opted to continue on.

The Alarc "Wall"

The Alarc “Wall”

Then, Mile 20 and the proverbial wall. No, really, there was a wall, the Alarc Wall, and we had to run through it! It was kind of neat, actually, and they were playing a song that I just had to dance through when I went through. I got a lot of cheers for doing that. And now I thought, “I have this SO licked!” because I felt incredibly amazing. Yeah, being fat adapted? There is no other way, I tell ya. My time was 2:39:something when I ran through the wall. That was 2 minutes faster than my 20 mile training run, and I still felt good as gold! I knew I could whip out a 50 minute 10K, and that is what I needed to get that 3:35:00 number I was after.

I never truly struggled. Oh, I take that back. At around mile 23, I dropped my phone. It just fell out of my HipsSister. I was doing a lot of waving and enticing the crowd to make noise, and it just jarred itself loose. I had to stop, pick it up, plug it back in…then I was so afraid I’d drop it again, I kept reaching for it every 5 minutes to be sure it was still in it’s pocket. I was either losing inches, or my hydration belt had loosened itself to the point that I was constantly adjusting it, so the last few miles were rather haphazard. And this got me rather frazzled, and I felt my heart rate go up…so I had to regroup and breathe and fix it. I don’t know that I actually did. That was the only thing that bummed me out about this race as far as my performance went. I’m just glad those last few miles were mainly downhill. That helped with the negative splits…plus I had some kind of second (or third) wind just before the finish. I saw all these tall, young, guys ahead of me slowing down. Seemed the thing to do was to pass them.

After that, more crowds and a lot more waving. Somehow I missed the Summit Avenue climb. It just didn’t seem like much of an issue. Either that, or my heart rate was already up from dropping my phone, so it just got buried. Either way, I had an incredible burst of energy here, and I realized that I never fueled up with more bits at hour 3. Oh well, didn’t seem like it mattered at this point.

Mile 26 and we are passing the St. Paul Cathedral and yet another amazing round of church bells! It was magical. And I just kept running.

The finish line now was in clear view, and I upped my pace again. I wanted to sprint to it as best I could so I could stop short and raise my arms for the photo…and I did. I hope the pictures came out! There were two clocks overhead and I wasn’t sure which was mine. I just assumed it was the one that read 3:34:00 and not the one that read 3:31:00. I turned off my Garmin and my RunMeter soon after but I couldn’t read the time with my sunglasses on. I just wanted to stop them. And it didn’t matter anyway because I had beat my goal of 3:35:00. I grabbed a water bottle and got my thermo wrap, then I looked for anything low carb to eat, but found nothing. Still, I collected some stuff for the family. And I stopped to get my photo taken in front of the Twin Cities backdrop.

I also picked up my check bag with my glasses fully intact, and my race shirt. I haven’t tried it on yet, but it looks kind of small. And they wouldn’t let us exchange it right there. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to keep running so it will keep fitting!

I passed up the free beer (barf) and left the gates to find my husband. He was right there. He told me my actual finish time, I was astounded. 3:30:14? REALLY? Are you SURE? I couldn’t fathom that. I just couldn’t fathom it. That was almost 15 minutes faster than Grandma’s. Did I really just do that? My husband said “I kept checking your estimated finish time and it kept getting faster and faster.” Dang, I thought…I must have run some killer negative splits!

And it would appear that I did! Who knew I had it in me?

Negative splits at Twin Cities Marathon

Negative splits at Twin Cities Marathon

Apparently, I did. I asked my husband to take my picture when we met up.

Me, all done with the run!

Me, all done with the run!

Then we grabbed some free Caribou coffee and headed out. Me shaking my head the entire walk. “Did I really just DO that?”

I couldn’t wait to get home and into a hot shower. I got so many great comments on my Runmeter that I couldn’t wait to get home and re-read all of them and thank EVERYONE for their support. It really got me through as it always does. That, and my Energybits. I couldn’t be more grateful to them, either.


Me, my medal, and my bits.

Me, my medal, and my bits.

So what is next for #NeonIsMyColor? I’ve got a 10k scheduled for Sunday. And a half marathon that I’ve run the past two years is Saturday. I’d LOVE to run it again. It is a grueling, challenging, hilly 13 miles, but I’ll play it by ear and decide last minute.

But for now, I’ve got my Boston Qualifier (by 25 minutes) and the blessing of my husband to go again. It looks like I’ll begin my 50th year with a bang. I’m very excited for the opportunity to avenge my time at Boston!

To top it ALL off, my Garmin had a message for me this morning.

Garmin message

Garmin message

Yeah, baby.

How did your race go this weekend? Do you have any big ones coming up?

7 Responses to Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon – Race Recap

  1. petitepacer says:

    You’re a rock star!!!

  2. Patricia says:

    You’re phenomenal! Congratulations on your spectacular marathon time. Hard work pays. Awesome recap – made me feel like I was there with you.

  3. […] I hurt. Yeah, my training sucked. Yeah, Boston won’t be a huge success like my Twin Cities marathon run. But who […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *